The Declaration of Independence Resource

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Civics (Foundations of Government) Resource page 1
The Declaration of Independence
Background:
The Declaration of Independence was largely drafted by
Thomas Jefferson. In its preamble, Jefferson used just 79
words to concisely state the ideals of a new nation. On the
day of its signing, July 4, 1776, the colonists truly became
Americans. Based on the ideas of John Locke, Jefferson put
forth a formal note to England and the other powerful nations of the world.
Directions:
Study the Declaration of Independence, and put it in your
own words after breaking its main ideas into the following
three sections:
Part One: Basic Rights ______________________________________________________
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Part Two: Great Britain’s Faults _____________________________________________
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Part Three: Announcement of Independence ___________________________________
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KC 4 Social Studies
©2009 Kent ISD
Civics (Foundations of Government) Resource page 2
The Declaration of Independence (continued)
1. _What was Thomas Jefferson’s contribution to the Declaration of Independence? __________
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2. _What were three of the American’s accusations toward the King of England? ____________
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3. _Describe the three main parts of the Declaration of Independence: _____________________
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4. _What was the response of the writers of the Declaration to perceived violations to human
dignity? ___________________________________________________________________
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5. _How would the Continental Congress responded to Great Britain if parliament would have
repealed the Intolerable Acts? __________________________________________________
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6. _Why is the Declaration of Independence important for people to study today? ____________
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7. _Name three core democratic values that are expressed in the document? ________________
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8. _How does the Declaration serve as a primary source for historians and help us understand
how people felt at the time of its writing? ________________________________________
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KC 4 Social Studies
©2009 Kent ISD
Civics (Foundations of Government) Resource page 3
The Declaration of Independence (Answer Key)
Part One:
Sample answer: We Americans have the basic rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness. A government has a duty to the people and a duty to protect those rights. If the
government does NOT protect those rights, the people have a right to rebel against the
government.
Part Two:
Sample answer: There are many reasons why the Americans should break from Great
Britain, and the rest of the world should know about it. Some of these reasons are that
England has imposed taxes without the people’s consent, they have placed large numbers of
troops on North American soil, and they have tried to dissolve representative governing
groups.
Part Three:
Sample answer: We Americans do hereby declare ourselves to the world: We are to be an
independent nation, and are free of Great Britain’s tyranny
Questions:
1. Sample answer: Jefferson wrote the original draft and was the main writer of the
document.
2. Sample answers: He has dissolved our representative government. He has taxed without
consent of the people. He has abolished our most valuable laws.
3. Sample answers: Basic Rights - A statement of self-evident truths and a theory of the
relationship between the people and their government. Great Britain’s Faults - A list of
complaints against England’s rulers. Announcement of Independence - A proclamation to
the world powers.
4. Sample answer: We have warned, reminded, and appealed to Great Britain.
5. Answers may vary.
6. Answers may vary.
7. Sample answers: Life, Liberty, The Pursuit of Happiness, Truth, Equality, Popular
Sovereignty.
8. Sample answer: It represents the thinking and philosophy of 1770s America.
KC 4 Social Studies
©2009 Kent ISD
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